The response of the National Council for Human Rights to the report of Human Rights Watch in the memory of the dispersal of Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares

August 24, 2014

 Not an official translation

Human Rights Watch issued on the 24th of August 2014 a report on the events that took place in Egypt after the revolution of the 30th of July 2014, including the dispersal of the sit-ins in the squares of Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda. It tackled, with criticism and skepticism, the report of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) on these events.

 Although the National Council for Human Rights does not usually respond or comment on reports of organizations working in the same field, it has decided to respond to the obvious fallacies, assumptions without logical evidence and criticism addressed to the NCHR, contained in the Human Rights Watch report, as follows:

 The author of the Human Rights Watch report has intentionally disregarded one of the fundamental testimonies from the reporter Maged Atef about the murder of one of the Police officers after which the exchange of fires started. However, the report, in an obvious bias stand, has taken into account this testimony in more than twenty parts of it related to other happenings which do not condemn the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, the author of the report has referred to a meeting with him which did not occur. Following to that, the witness has requested Human Rights Watch to bring a correction to that matter, thus undermining the credibility of the report in view that this witness is a pivotal one.

 1. In addition, the author of the report did not mention any of the human rights violations committed by the management of the sit-in, including cases of kidnapping and torture, as well as cases of using the persons who were participating in the sit-in as human shields and detaining them in the sit-in. The report did not assign any responsibility to the sit-in management from the Muslim Brotherhood although these crimes.

 2. The author of the report of Human Rights Watch mentioned that the NCHR report includes methodological weaknesses, among which a presumed failure of the NCHR with a large number of participants in the sit-in in person and as a result of that it has failed in obtaining many video clips, photos and evidence that were in their possession.

 In response to that, the NCHR underlines that it has listened to varied testimonies from different sources, whether from the people who participated in the sit-on or the local and international correspondents, as well as the local and foreign media persons who have witnessed the events of the dispersal of the sit-in. The NCHR has deeply focused on listening and documenting the testimonies of those who have witnessed the sit-in dispersal and not only those who have participated in the sit-in and were not present during the events of dispersing the sit-in of Rabaa Al-Adaweya.

  Furthermore, the NCHR stresses, in response to what has been mentioned about a so called failure of the NCHR to obtain the videos, photos and evidence, that there was no need to meet the persons themselves in view that this material was uploaded, by the same persons, who allege that their testimonies were neglected, on social media sites and on the internet few hours following the events of dispersing the sit-in. This proves that the conclusion, reached upon such assumption, is wrong.

 3. The Human Rights Watch report criticizes the NCHR report because it has not put sufficient responsibility on the Ministry of Interior for not providing safe exits.

This is in contradiction with what it is mentioned in the NCHR report that the most important violation in the dispersal process of the sit-in is the failure of the Ministry of Interior and not only that it has failed in providing the safe exit. It proves that the author of the Human Rights Watch report did not read the NCHR report. Moreover, the least which can be said is that his conclusions show a lack of professionalism, unless it has intentionally aimed at a misleading regarding the conclusions of the NCHR report.

 4. The author of the Human Rights Watch report has alleged that the NCHR has minimized the number of casualties by relying only on official documentation, and disregarded crucial evidence that indicate the presence of corpses in hospitals all over the country and in Al-Iman mosque. This proves, once again, the non-credibility of the author of the report of Human Rights Watch and that he did not read the NCHR report which includes, for the first time, detailed and documented lists with the names of the corpses in Al-Iman mosque and also the corpses in all hospitals. Anyone who wanted to have the exact number of corpses has relied on this information. In addition, these lists have been considered officially as a source of verification of the exact names and numbers of the deceased in these events.

 5. According to the Human Rights Watch report, the NCHR has exaggerated in describing the violence of the protesters and has relied on the information published by the Ministry of Interior. Once again, it proves that the author of Human Rights Watch report has intentionally disregarded the video clips obtained by the NCHR and released exclusively, and for the first time, in an NCHR press conference showing acts of violence by the protesters that have not been previously released or published.

 6. The Human Right Watch report affirms that the NCHR did not investigate in some specific acts related to individual misbehavior including beating, torturing and even execution, in the field, of some people. Such an observation does not differ too much from similar previous claims in an misleading attempt which proves that the author of the report did not watch these video clips attached to the NCHR report that show and document such cases of individual misbehavior during the dispersal process.

 In this context, we confirm that the overall observations made by Human Rights Watch report regarding the NCHR report are not different from the media criticism which has been published in Egyptian newspapers by some persons. It seems that they have been copied by the author of Human Rights Watch report without being verified, which is not compatible with the skills of research and investigation

that imply, professionally and ethically, that the investigating person should be sure of the veracity of the information before mentioning it.

It is worth mentioning that after a meeting of Mr. Nasser Amin, NCHR Council member, with the author of the Human Rights Watch report, a researcher named Omar, and Mr. John Stork, a month before issuing the report, Mr. Omar enquired whether the NCHR has issued a report. It was an amazing question which reflected that Human Rights Watch has prepared its report about the events of the dispersal of Rabaa Al - Adaweya sit-in without reviewing the NCHR report.

 Mr. Nasser Amin enquired if they have not read the NCHR report. Mr. Omar told him that he has not read it and that he has followed up what has been published about it in the press. It is evidence which has been noted during that meeting. Human Rights Watch should revert to it .However, it seems that there is a decision of Human Rights Watch in this regard that is hard to understand. The credibility of Human Rights Watch report has been affected by all that.

 Regarding the numbers of victims, the NCHR has documented very accurately the names and numbers of the victims. The NCHR report mentions that the victims were 632 persons and it also mentions the first, middle and family name of each one of them while the Human Rights Watch report states that they are 817 persons. This number of victims has been previously announced on some websites. It seems that the authors of Human Rights Watch report have made things easy by taking this number of victims as it is from the websites although the NCHR has met with the responsible of these websites and knew from them that the numbers of victims have not been proven accurate. It seems also that the authors of Human Rights Watch report  have not paid attention to the note mentioned by these websites that the accuracy of some numbers of the victims have not been verified. This proves once again a methodological mistake which undermine the credibility of the authors of Human Rights Watch report. It also proves that the NCHR has listened to the testimonies of many of the persons participating in the sit-in and that it has only paid interest to the testimonies of those who attended the sit-in dispersal process as they are the only credible ones to be questioned. It has preferred that the testimonies should be from parties not belonging to the security bodies or the Muslim Brotherhood and from persons who have witnessed the sit-in dispersal process such as the correspondents, the journalists and the representatives of local and foreign news agencies.

 The NCHR reiterates that the Human Rights Watch report is considered, from a technical view point, a politicized report, aiming at serving another objective than Human Rights, which raises question marks  about the credibility and neutrality of the report.

  

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